Encinitas passes climate change resolution


The Encinitas city council voted 4 to 1 on March 22 in favor of supporting a national revenue-neutral Carbon Fee and Dividend (CFD) program to help offet the harmful effects of carbon emissions through a financial incentive.

Under the CFD program, fees would be applied to all sources of carbon emissions, and the fees collected would be returned to taxpayers as rebates, said city Environmental Commissioner Jim Wang. The goal is to create a financial incentive to reduce carbon emissions, according to a city document.

Encinitas follows Del Mar as the second city in San Diego County to approve a CFD program.

Encinitas is also working on an update of its Climate Action Plan, which should be ready for city council consideration in June.

Wang urged the council to support the CFD program.

“The costs of CO2 are not entirely paid for at the pump,” he said. “This is a way of trying to reduce the carbon emissions.”

Many residents also supported the program.

Resident Harold Standifer said climate change is one of the most urgent issues facing people today.

“[This program] is a proven way to incentivize widespread movement toward use of renewable energy and utilization to reduce our carbon emissions to help the environment,” he said. “I feel we should all feel a sense of urgency to act now in any way we can to reverse the dangerous course that we are currently on.”

Council member Mark Muir, who dissented, said he could not support the motion immediately until he better understood carbon pricing, including the tax fees, but would meet with proponents to learn more.

“When I get into something, I need to understand it completely to support it,” he said. “Whatever happens, I think we need to have the conversation with the community about what it does. I think the community should weigh in.”

He said he believed it would be difficult to get residents to approve of such a fee.

The council deliberated over postponing the vote until after Muir met with proponents in order to achieve a unanimous vote, but ultimately decided to move forward with the motion at the March 22 meeting. The motion to approve support of the program was also amended to formally assign Muir to meet with proponents.

Deputy Mayor Tony Kranz supported the program and said he hoped Encinitas’ vote in favor would influence others.

“It’s time to show leadership,” he said. “I think we need to continue to work to raise the awareness, not only with our legislators, but also with the members of our community.”